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Daily wages and piece rates in agrarian economies

  • Baland, Jean-Marie
  • Dreze, Jean
  • Leruth, Luc

The paper presents an analysis of the coexistence of daily-wage and piece-rate contracts in agrarian economies. We show that, when individual effort is taken into account, daily-wage labourers typically form a convex set in the space of working ability. The most able and the least able labourers work on piece rates, as they can thus choose their own level of effort. We also prove that, on a monopsonistic labour market, the use of both contracts in equilibrium results from the profitability of market segmentation. Imperfect substitutability between workers under different contracts and the downwards rigidity of daily wages can also explain the coexistence of the two types of contracts in more general settings, e.g. perfect competition

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 59 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 445-461

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:59:y:1999:i:2:p:445-461
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  1. Roumasset, James & Uy, Marilou, 1980. "Piece rates, time rates, and teams : Explaining patterns in the employment relation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 343-360, December.
  2. Matutes, Carmen & Regibeau, Pierre & Rockett, Katharine, 1994. "Compensation Schemes and Labor Market Competition: Piece Rate versus Wage Rate," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 325-53, Summer.
  3. Reddy, C. R, 1985. "Rural labour market in varhad: a case study of agricultural labourers in rain-fed agriculture in India," ILO Working Papers 241836, International Labour Organization.
  4. Anindita Mukherjee, 1994. "The Labour Markets in Indian Villages," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 34, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  5. Joesph E. Stiglitz, 1975. "Incentives, Risk, and Information: Notes Towards a Theory of Hierarchy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 552-579, Autumn.
  6. Petersen, Trond, 1991. "Reward Systems and the Distribution of Wages," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 130-58, Special I.
  7. Bardhan, Pranab & Rudra, Ashok, 1981. "Terms and Conditions of Labour Contracts in Agriculture: Results of a Survey in West Bengal, 1979," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 43(1), pages 89-111, February.
  8. Bliss, C. J. & Stern, N. H., 1982. "Palanpur: The Economy of an Indian Village," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284192.
  9. Seiler, Eric, 1984. "Piece Rate vs. Time Rate: The Effect of Incentives on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 363-76, August.
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